March 5, 2009
When the Sulligent High School baseball team plays host to its annual Blue Devil Classic, the event will have the look of a Lamar County tournament.
Sulligent will play host to the tournament that includes county rivals Lamar County and South Lamar as well as to Phil Campbell on Friday and Saturday.
"We try to play South Lamar and Vernon (Lamar County) as much as possible because of the rivalries," Sulligent coach Lane Wright said. "It brings good crowds together."
Friday''s games match Sulligent against South Lamar at 1 p.m., South Lamar against Lamar County at 3 p.m., and Sulligent against Phil Campbell at 6 p.m.
Saturday''s schedule has South Lamar against Phil Campbell at 11 a.m., Lamar County against Phil Campbell at 1:30 p.m., and Sulligent against Lamar County at 4 p.m.
There isn''t a Lamar County tournament, so the Blue Devil Classic is as close as there is to one.
"They declare a county champion, they just don''t do it over one weekend," Wright said. "We play South Lamar twice and Vernon twice and they both play each other twice. Then at the end whoever had the most wins is declared the county champion."
Sulligent will start Parker Northington in the tournament opener. South Lamar will counter with Eric Adams.
Lamar County coach Ken Adams said he doesn''t know who he will pitch in his team''s opener, but Lance Bobbitt or Matt Norton are candidates. One will pitch against South Lamar and the other will pitch against Phil Campbell.
Wright believes a competitive field will provide solid baseball.
"I believe South Lamar has a chance to be a very good baseball program in 1A this year," Wright said. "They should have a chance to win the state championship this year. Phil Campbell has been playing pretty good so far this season. We don''t think we''re too far behind them. We''re looking forward to playing."
Sulligent (2-1) beat Marion County 10-0 in its season opener Monday and split a doubleheader with Fayette County on Tuesday. The Blue Devils lost the opener 9-3 and won the nightcap 5-4.
Northington pitched the second game against Fayette County.
"We have high hopes," Wright said. "We have a lot of young players this year that are good, but we just need to play. We got started a little late because of basketball season. We have a lot of depth, and that''s something we haven''t had since I''ve been here. We think our chances are pretty good this year to make a splash in 2A."
South Lamar (4-3) has already beaten Lamar County (1-5) twice this season.
Prior to playing in the tournament, Lamar County plays Aberdeen today.